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Women’s basketball puts 10-second backcourt rule in effect for first time

By Greg Johnson

Women’s college basketball fans will notice a new 10-second in the backcourt rule in effect for the upcoming 2013-14 season.

The rule will be implemented for the first time since the NCAA began administering women’s championships for the 1981-82 season.

Previously, teams could take as much time off the 30-second shot clock as they wanted before crossing the mid-court line. NCAA women’s basketball was the only level in the sport throughout the world that did not have a timed backcourt rule in place.

Officials will use the shot clock to determine if a 10-second violation has occurred. The 10-second backcourt count begins when a player on the floor legally touches the ball.

The NCAA Women’s Basketball Rules Committee believes adding the 10-second rule will increase the tempo of the game and create more offensive scoring opportunities.

The five-second closely guarded rule in the backcourt has been eliminated from the rules book.

The closely guarded rule in the frontcourt remains; however it has been changed to read, “A player holding the ball for five seconds with a defender not exceeding 6 feet (away from them) will be a violation.” Previously, the defender had to be within 3 feet of the offensive player with the ball to force a five-second violation.

Monitor reviews expanded

Officials will be allowed to conduct more monitor reviews this season.

In the last two minutes of regulation and the last two minutes of overtime, officials can look to see if a shot clock violation occurred, and they can have a review to determine who caused the ball to go out of bounds on a deflection involving two or more players.

Additionally, when officials have a question as to whether a shot was a 2-point or a 3-point field goal, they will be allowed to signal to the scorer’s table to record the game time so that the play will be reviewed during the next media timeout. Men’s basketball teams in the Big Ten Conference successfully experimented with this rule during the 2012-13 season and found that it reduced stoppages in play.

In the last four minutes of the game and the entire overtime, officials will go to the monitor immediately to look for indisputable evidence as to how many points should be awarded for a field goal when determining whether a shot was a 2- or 3-point field goal.

Officials will also be allowed to use the monitor to determine which player committed a foul when there is uncertainty after a call has been made. Previously, officials were only permitted to use the monitor to determine the free-throw shooter.

Officials can also use the monitor to determine if a flagrant foul has been committed. The video evidence will be sought to see if the contact on a foul that was called is a flagrant 2, flagrant 1, common foul or no call when there was contact. When the officials use the monitor to review a situation that is not called on the floor, the only options are flagrant 2, flagrant 1 or no foul.

Lower-defensive box added to the restricted-area rule

The committee made a revision to the restricted-area rule in the lower defensive box (the area on the court that starts at the second free-throw lane space to the 3-foot area outside the lane to the baseline). When a player with the ball starts her move to the basket from outside the lower defensive box area, a secondary defender must be outside the restricted area to draw a charge.

When a player with the ball starts her move to the basket from inside the lower-defensive box area, a secondary defender can draw a charge in the restricted area and the restricted area is not in effect.

Division I courts will have “tick marks” located 3 feet outside the lane on the baseline to help define the area for officials.

In July, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a request from the Division II and III Management Councils to delay until the 2014-15 academic year the requirement of having the tick mark court markings, which help define the lower defensive box in women’s basketball.

The lower defensive box rule that was passed by the panel will still be enforced by officials in all three levels. When the two “tick marks” along each baseline are not on the court, officials will use their best judgment to decide if a play began inside or outside the lower defensive box area.

Elbow rules

The committee tweaked the rules regarding elbow contact above the shoulders.

It is no longer an automatic flagrant 1 foul when there is illegal elbow contact above the shoulders of an opponent. Officials can now call a common foul on illegal elbow contact, which may result in no free throws and simply a throw-in to the offended team. This is a stark contrast to the mandatory flagrant 1 foul rule that has been in effect for three years, which gave the offended player two free throws and the ball. Coaches felt that there was elbow contact that did not merit such a harsh penalty. Officials who deem elbow contact to be excessive are encouraged to call a flagrant 1 foul.

In a flagrant 1 situation, the player who was struck is awarded two free throws and her team gets possession of the ball. In a flagrant 2 foul situation, free throws and possession are awarded and the player who threw the elbow is ejected from the game.

Committee members felt the mandatory flagrant 1 penalty of the elbow rule was too harsh for all elbow situations. While the intent of the elbow rule has always been to protect players and eliminate the rip move where players were making contact above the shoulders of defenders, there are legitimate basketball moves that result in contact that is not excessive and do not deserve the harsher penalty.

Women’s basketball media timeouts

When a team-called timeout occurs within or up to 30 seconds of the scheduled media timeout (first dead ball under the 16-, 12-, 8-, and 4-minute marks), it becomes the subsequent media timeout with the exception of the first team-called timeout in the second half.

For example, when Team A calls a timeout at 16:02 in the first half, there will not be another timeout at the first dead ball under the 16-minute mark.

This will eliminate consecutive timeout stoppages in play.